Supe Proposes To Name The Japantown Pedestrian Mall In Honor Of The Late Artist Ruth Asawa

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San Francisco supervisor Dean Preston proposed this week to name Japantown’s Buchanan Mall in honor of famous and late artist Ruth Asawa.

Asawa, who was of Japanese descent, is known for her daring metal and wire sculptures, located in public spaces in the city and various other cities like Oakland, San Jose, and St. Helena.

Some of Asawa’s most famous public art works in San Francisco include the Aurora Sculpture along the Embarcadero, the San Francisco Fountain outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown San Francisco, and the Fountain Andrea in Ghirardelli Square.

Introduced at Tuesday’s supervisory board meeting, Preston’s resolution would name the pedestrian section of Buchanan Street, located between Post and Sutter streets, “Ruth Asawa Plaza.” The area currently has two artist-designed fountains called Aroura and Origami fountains.

“It is very fitting that we add the name of Ruth Asawa to the heart of Japantown,” Preston said in a statement. “Her story is one of tremendous perseverance – she, along with her family and thousands of Japanese Americans, was sent to internment camps during World War II – and endless determination, raising six children in San Francisco while creating timeless works of art. “

“Origami fountains not only embody the artist’s creativity and unique design, but also bring Japantown a sense of history, a sense of belonging,” said Claudine Cheng, advisor of the Japan Center Garage Corporation. and President of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Foundation. “We hope the commemorative name will attract art lovers and visitors to come see and explore these foundations in Japantown.”

Asawa, who died in 2013, is also known for her activism in arts education, the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts bearing her name.


Last month Asawa was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

Additionally, last year, the U.S. Postal Service issued a series of Forever stamps featuring Asawa’s iconic wire sculptures.

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